Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 13.1. Corporations
Chapter 9. Virginia Stock Corporation Act
9/17/2021

Article 3. Formation of Corporations.

§ 13.1-618. Incorporators.

One or more persons may act as the incorporator or incorporators of a corporation by signing and delivering articles of incorporation to the Commission for filing.

Code 1950, § 13.1-48; 1956, c. 428; 1968, c. 42; 1972, c. 606; 1985, c. 522; 2015, c. 623.

§ 13.1-619. Articles of incorporation.

A. The articles of incorporation shall set forth:

1. A corporate name for the corporation that satisfies the requirements of § 13.1-630;

2. The number of shares the corporation is authorized to issue;

3. If more than one class or series of shares is authorized, the number of authorized shares of each class or series and a distinguishing designation for each class or series; and

4. The address of the corporation's initial registered office (including both (i) the post-office address with street and number, if any, and (ii) the name of the city or county in which it is located), and the name of its initial registered agent at that office, and that the agent is either (i) an individual who is a resident of Virginia and either a director of the corporation or a member of the Virginia State Bar or (ii) a domestic or foreign stock or nonstock corporation, limited liability company, or registered limited liability partnership authorized to transact business in the Commonwealth.

B. The articles of incorporation may set forth:

1. The names and addresses of the individuals who are to serve as the initial directors;

2. Any provision defining or denying the preemptive right of shareholders to acquire unissued shares of the corporation;

3. Provisions not inconsistent with law regarding:

a. The purpose or purposes for which the corporation is organized;

b. The management of the business and regulation of the affairs of the corporation;

c. Defining, limiting, and regulating the powers of the corporation, its board of directors, and shareholders;

d. A par value for authorized shares or classes or series of shares; or

e. Imposing interest holder liability on shareholders;

4. Any provision that under this chapter is required or permitted to be set forth in the bylaws; and

5. A provision limiting or eliminating any duty of a director or any other person to offer the corporation the right to have or participate in any, or one or more classes or categories of, business opportunities, before the pursuit or taking of the opportunity by the director or other person, provided that any application of such a provision to an officer or a related person of that officer (i) also requires approval of that application by the board of directors, subsequent to the effective date of the provision, by action of disinterested directors taken in compliance with the same procedures as are set forth in § 13.1-691, and (ii) may be limited by the approving action of the board of directors.

C. The articles of incorporation need not set forth any of the corporate powers enumerated in this chapter.

D. Provisions of the articles of incorporation may be made dependent upon facts objectively ascertainable outside the articles of incorporation in accordance with subsection L of § 13.1-604.

Code 1950, § 13.1-49; 1956, c. 428; 1958, c. 564; 1975, c. 500; 1985, c. 522; 1986, c. 622; 1993, c. 113; 2000, c. 162; 2001, cc. 517, 541; 2005, c. 765; 2019, c. 734.

§ 13.1-620. Special kinds of business.

A. If any corporation is to conduct the business of a bank or trust company, that shall be stated in the articles of incorporation and the corporation shall not have power to conduct other business except as may be related to or incidental to the banking or trust company business.

B. If any corporation is to conduct the business of an insurance company, that shall be stated in the articles of incorporation and the articles shall further set forth the class or classes of insurance the corporation proposes to undertake and the corporation shall not have power to conduct other business except as may be related to or incidental to the insurance business.

C. If any corporation is to conduct the business of a savings and loan association or savings bank, that shall be stated in the articles of incorporation and the corporation shall not have power to conduct other business except as may be related to or incidental to the stated business.

D. If any corporation is to conduct the business of a railroad or other public service company, that shall be stated in the articles of incorporation and a brief description of the business shall be included. Otherwise the corporation shall not have the power to conduct a public service business or to exercise any of the privileges of a public service company. No corporation shall be organized under this chapter for the purpose of conducting in this Commonwealth more than one kind of public service business except that the telephone and telegraph businesses or the water and sewer businesses may be combined, but this provision shall not limit the powers of domestic corporations existing on January 1, 1986. No corporation organized under this chapter to conduct the business of a public service company shall have general business powers in this Commonwealth. Corporations organized under this chapter to conduct the business of a public service company may, however, conduct in this Commonwealth other public service business or nonpublic service business so far as may be related to or incidental to its stated business as a public service company and in any other state such business as may be authorized or permitted by the laws thereof. Nothing in this subsection shall limit the powers of such corporation in respect of the securities of other corporations or of limited liability companies.

E. If one or more of the purposes set forth in the articles of incorporation is to own, manage or control any plant or equipment or any part of a plant or equipment within the Commonwealth for the conveyance of telephone messages or for the production, transmission, delivery or furnishing of heat, light, power or water, including heated or chilled water, or sewerage facilities, either directly or indirectly, to or for the public, the Commission shall not issue a certificate of incorporation unless the articles of incorporation expressly state that the corporation is to conduct business as a public service company.

F. Whether or not classified elsewhere in the Code as public service companies the following are not required to incorporate as public service companies: a person authorized by the Federal Communications Commission to provide commercial mobile service, household goods carriers, petroleum tank truck carriers, bottled gas companies, taxicab companies, community television companies, charter party carriers, restricted parcel carriers, sight-seeing carriers, companies excluded from the definition of "public utility" by § 56-265.1(b)(4) or by § 56-1.2 and compressed natural gas filling stations.

G. A water or sewer company that proposes to serve more than fifty customers shall incorporate as a public service company. A water or sewer company shall not serve more than fifty customers unless its articles of incorporation state that the corporation is to conduct business as a public service company. The two preceding sentences shall not apply to a water or sewer company incorporated before and operating a water or sewer system on January 1, 1970; however, as to any water or sewer system serving more than fifty customers, upon application to the Commission by a majority of the customers or by the company, a hearing may be held after thirty days' notice to the company and the system's customers or a majority thereof, and the Commission may order such, if any, improvements or rate changes or both as are just and reasonable. Upon ordering into effect any rate changes or improvements found to be just and reasonable, the water or sewer system shall remain subject to the Commission's regulatory authority in the same manner as a public utility for such reasonable period as the Commission may direct. Nothing in this subsection shall apply to persons described in § 56-1.2.

Code 1950, § 13.1-50; 1956, c. 428; 1968, c. 110; 1970, c. 127; 1972, c. 123; 1974, c. 285; 1976, c. 284; 1981, c. 285; 1985, c. 522; 1990, c. 488; 1991, c. 263; 1993, cc. 61, 265, 419; 1995, c. 281; 1996, c. 16.

§ 13.1-621. Issuance of certificate of incorporation.

If the Commission finds that the articles of incorporation comply with the requirements of law and that all required fees have been paid, it shall issue a certificate of incorporation. When the certificate of incorporation is effective, the corporate existence shall begin. Upon becoming effective, the certificate of incorporation shall be conclusive evidence that all conditions precedent required to be performed by the incorporators have been complied with and that the corporation has been incorporated under this chapter.

Code 1950, §§ 13-25, 13-26, 13.1-51, 13.1-52; 1956, c. 428; 1985, c. 522.

§ 13.1-622. Liability for preincorporation transactions.

All persons purporting to act as or on behalf of a corporation, knowing there was no incorporation under this chapter, are jointly and severally liable for all liabilities created while so acting except for any liability to any person who also knew that there was no incorporation.

1985, c. 522.

§ 13.1-623. Organization of corporation.

A. After incorporation:

1. If initial directors are named in the articles of incorporation, the initial directors shall hold an organizational meeting, at the call of a majority of the directors, to complete the organization of the corporation by appointing officers, adopting bylaws, and carrying on any other business brought before the meeting; or

2. If initial directors are not named in the articles of incorporation, the incorporator or incorporators shall hold an organizational meeting at the call of a majority of the incorporators:

a. To elect a board of directors and complete the organization of the corporation; or

b. To elect a board of directors who shall complete the organization of the corporation.

B. Action required or permitted by this chapter to be taken by incorporators or the initial directors at an organizational meeting may be taken without a meeting if the action taken is evidenced by one or more written consents describing the action taken and signed by each incorporator or initial director.

C. An organizational meeting may be held in or out of the Commonwealth.

Code 1950, § 13.1-54; 1956, c. 428; 1972, c. 606; 1974, c. 71; 1975, c. 500; 1985, c. 522; 2019, c. 734.

§ 13.1-624. Bylaws.

A. The incorporators or board of directors of a corporation shall adopt initial bylaws for the corporation.

B. The bylaws of a corporation may contain any provision that is not inconsistent with law or the articles of incorporation.

C. The bylaws may contain one or more of the following provisions:

1. A requirement that if the corporation solicits proxies or consents with respect to an election of directors, the corporation include in its proxy statement and any form of its proxy or consent, to the extent and subject to such procedures or conditions as are provided in the bylaws, one or more individuals nominated by a shareholder in addition to individuals nominated by the board of directors; and

2. A requirement that any or all internal corporate claims shall be brought exclusively in a circuit court or a federal district court in the Commonwealth and, if so specified, in any additional courts in the Commonwealth or in any other jurisdictions in which the corporation maintains its principal office. As used in this subdivision, "internal corporate claims" means (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on behalf of the corporation; (ii) any action for breach of duty to the corporation or the corporation's shareholders by any current or former officer, director, or shareholder of the corporation; (iii) any action asserting a claim arising pursuant to this chapter or the corporation's articles of incorporation or bylaws; or (iv) any action asserting a claim governed by the internal affairs doctrine that is not included in clause (i), (ii), or (iii). Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter to the contrary, to the extent any provision of this chapter allows or requires an action or proceeding to be brought in the circuit court of the county or city where the corporation's principal office or registered office is located or in any other specified court location, such action or proceeding shall instead be brought in a court in the Commonwealth specified in a bylaw, if any, authorized by this subdivision and adopted prior to the commencement of such action or proceeding.

D. A provision of the bylaws adopted under subdivision C 2 shall not have the effect of conferring jurisdiction on any court or over any person or claim, and shall not apply if none of the courts specified by such provision has the requisite personal and subject matter jurisdiction. If the court or courts specified in a provision adopted under subdivision C 2 do not have the requisite personal and subject matter jurisdiction and another court of the Commonwealth does have such jurisdiction, then the internal corporate claim may be brought in such other court of the Commonwealth, notwithstanding that such other court of the Commonwealth is not specified in such provision, and in any other court specified in such provision that has the requisite jurisdiction. No provision of the articles of incorporation or the bylaws may prohibit bringing an internal corporate claim in the courts of the Commonwealth or require any such claim to be determined by arbitration.

E. Notwithstanding subdivision B 2 of § 13.1-714, the shareholders in amending, repealing, or adopting a bylaw described in subdivision C 1 may not limit the authority of the board of directors to amend or repeal any condition or procedure set forth in, or to add any procedure or condition to, such a bylaw to provide for a reasonable, practicable, and orderly process.

Code 1950, §§ 13-10, 13.1-24; 1956, c. 428; 1985, c. 522; 2010, c. 782; 2015, c. 611; 2019, c. 734; 2020, c. 1226.

§ 13.1-625. Emergency bylaws.

A. Unless the articles of incorporation provide otherwise, the board of directors of a corporation may adopt bylaws to be effective only in an emergency defined in subsection D of this section. The emergency bylaws, which are subject to amendment or repeal by the shareholders, may make all provisions necessary for managing the corporation during the emergency, including provisions that may be inconsistent with one or more provisions of this chapter with respect to:

1. Procedures for calling a meeting of the board of directors;

2. Quorum requirements for the meeting; and

3. Designation of additional or substitute directors.

B. All provisions of the regular bylaws not inconsistent with the emergency bylaws remain effective during the emergency. The emergency bylaws are not effective after the emergency ends.

C. Corporate action taken in good faith in accordance with the emergency bylaws:

1. Binds the corporation; and

2. May not be used to impose liability on a director, officer, employee, or agent of the corporation.

D. An emergency exists for purposes of this section and § 13.1-628 if there is a catastrophic event, including an attack on the United States or in any locality in which the corporation conducts its business or customarily holds meetings of the board of directors or shareholders, an epidemic or pandemic, or a declaration of a national emergency by the United States government or an emergency by the government of the locality in which the corporation's principal office is located, that affects the corporation and regardless of whether a quorum of the board of directors or a committee can be readily convened for action.

Code 1950, § 13.1-24.1; 1962, c. 102; 1975, c. 500; 1985, c. 522; 2019, c. 734; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 487.